School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Susan Quindag


student involvement, extracurricular activities, first-generation students, community college, sense of belonging


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this case study was to explore the persistence and retention of African American first-generation college students who participate in extracurricular activities at a two-year community college in the South. The theory guiding this study was Astin's student involvement theory, as it is a student development theory based on their involvement in college activities and addresses the motivation and behavior of students. According to this theory, the more students are involved in college, whether academically or in extracurricular activities, the tremendous success they will have in their learning and personal development. The research questions guiding the study were as follows: 1. How does participation in extracurricular activities encourage African American first-generation students to persist in college? 2. How does participation in extracurricular activities help African American first-generation students form meaningful relationships? 3. How can the college’s policies or practices be designed to encourage student involvement to achieve the desired outcome of continued enrollment of African American first-generation students? Data were collected from 10 participants through interviews, observation, and journals. These five themes emerged from the data analysis: Sense of belonging, parental expectations, socializing, college administrators creating more diverse and accessible student options, and work interference. This study shows a positive relationship between African American students participating in extracurricular activities and their persistence and retention in college.